Immersive exhibitions are back in a big way—heartening evidence that New York City and the world beyond are recovering from the stringent social restrictions of the past two years.
The latest sign that the art-going public is ready to get up close and personal with each other is Friday’s opening of “Monet’s Garden” at the Seamen’s Bank Building on Wall Street, kicking off the show’s American tour after stints in Berlin, Zurich and Mülheim. This is not the first time French impressionist Claude Monet joins the ranks of art superstars like Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, whose works have also been interpreted in the digital, room-filling format.
“It was Monet’s own wish that the viewers of his art would submerge themselves and dive into his art,” Nepomuk Schessl of Alegria Konzert GmbH, the show’s producer, told Artnet News. “This is why he painted his famous water lilies in such a large format—so that the viewer would feel like she or he is being surrounded by water. In a way, the immersive concept was already predetermined in Monet’s art and seems like an unavoidable logical next step.”
Schessl pointed out their show “takes it one step further” beyond the existing zeitgeist. Visitors “will be able to engage with his art, thereby understanding—not just by reading but by interaction—why Monet was a revolutionary of his time,” Schessl wrote.
“Monet’s Garden” presents the artist’s story across three segments. First, “The Studio” plunges visitors into Monet’s methods and perspectives, as well as his thinking, his blindness and the destruction of his own work. “The Garden” reimagines Monet’s infamous property in Giverny—his greatest inspiration—featuring physical and sensory elements like smells and a real bridge to walk over.
“The Showroom” caps the experience off with an exclusive focus on Monet’s artworks, particularly his series of monumental paintings of water lilies. There aren’t any real paintings in the show, so leave your mashed potatoes at home. Instead, high-resolution images with admittedly intense textural detail are projected onto the walls, creating that hallmark “immersive” experience.
Take a look for yourself below. Tickets start at $35.